Win a copy of Kris Waldherr's The Lover's Path!

Today is the last day of Kris Waldherr's Blog Tour for The Lover's Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice, and I have a chance for one of you lucky readers to win a copy of her amazing book!


Publication Date: June 16, 2015 | Publisher: Art and Words Editions | eBook; 114p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel

New expanded and revised anniversary edition. Finally available for iPad and Kindle.

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"To truly love another, you must follow the lover’s path wherever it may take you . . .”

Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead.

THE LOVER’S PATH, a moving tale of forbidden love, is a romantic epic told in multiple layers. Through a novel combination of Filamena’s narrative, famous love stories from history and mythology, and sumptuously ornate illustrations, Filomena’s path is beautifully described and, finally, stunningly revealed.

Praised by The New York Times Book Review for her “quality of myth and magic,” Kris Waldherr brings to life a remarkable period in Venetian history using art and words. Her glorious celebration of romance, the feminine spirit, and the power of love to transform will inspire and move readers everywhere.

Praise for The Lover's Path

"THE LOVER'S PATH is beautiful in every way; not only is the story of the girl's secret and ultimately dangerous love wonderfully told, but the exquisite illustrations and layout make you feel that you have truly fallen into old Venice with its longing and eroticism. Prepare to be lifted into another time and place and discover secrets long guarded. That one extraordinarily talented writer/artist/designer could have created this whole world is almost not to be believed but it is so. You must own this lovely, lovely book! —Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille and Marrying Mozart

“The Lover’s Path is a visual and literary feast.... The star-crossed lovers are a celebrated courtesan's virginal and over-protected young sister and a cardinal's illegitimate son. The lovers in the book are linked mythically and thematically to the archetypal lovers on the Lover's Path: Dante and Beatrice, Isis and Osiris, Tristan and Isolde, Orpheus and Eurydice, and ultimately Eros and Psyche.... Haunting.”—Mary Sharratt, author of Daughters of the Witching Hill

“Prepare to be transported to 16th century Venice from the first page. This novel is a feast—a full-color picture book for adults that tells a wrenching story of eternal love…. This beautiful fable reminded me of Erica Jong’s Serenissima.”—NPR Books

“With this illustrated novel, Waldherr has spun a wondrous story spilling over with mythological figures, with tarot cards and personal letters. You’re pulled into a vortex of a 16th century romance centered on Filamena Ziani, the younger sister of a famous courtesan in Venice…. Waldherr, who based her novel on a real-life courtesan, also created the illustrations for her book.”—The Albuquerque Journal

“Voluptuous illustration and enthralling narrative ... in this extraordinary testament to the strength of the feminine spirit.”—WNBC/B(u)y the Book

“Kris Waldherr’s The Lover’s Path plunges readers into the mysterious and exhilarating world of sixteenth-century Venice.... A visual adventure.”—Women in the Arts, the Magazine of the National Museum of Women in the Arts

The Lover's Path Available At

Kindle Fire format (Deluxe edition with full color graphics)
Kindle format (Optimized for b/w and smaller screen size)
iPad format (Deluxe edition with interactive full color graphics)
iPhone format (Optimized for small screen size)

KrisWaldherrauthorphotoAbout the Author

Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer whose many books include Doomed Queens and The Book of Goddesses. She is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has nearly a quarter of a million copies in print. Waldherr’s illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Mazza Museum, and the Ruskin Library. She lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband and their young daughter. Visit her online at

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Lover's Path Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review & Guest Post at Unshelfish
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, June 17
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, June 18
Review & Excerpt at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, June 19
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight & Excerpt at Raven Haired Girl

Monday, June 22
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, June 23
Review & Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 24
Review & Guest Post at The Emerald City Book Review

Thursday, June 25
Review at Broken Teepee

Monday, June 29
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, June 30
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past


To enter to win an eBook of The Lover's Path (winner's choice of format), please leave a comment below with your email address.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

04_The Lover's Path_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

HFVBT Presents Thomas Brooke's Roman Mask Release Day Blitz!

Large copy of Cover 

Publication Date: June 29, 2015 | CreateSpace | Formats: Kindle & Paperback | Pages: 388

Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure/Action

What is it we normally expect of the leading character in our books? Self-sacrifice? Bravery? Strength of character? Possibly with a hint of self-deprecation? Well, Cassius doesn’t have any of those. Cynicism – yes. Cowardice – possibly. Prepared to live a lie in order to further his own ends – absolutely!

It is Rome AD 9 and Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome’s imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career. None of Rome’s fashionable parties are complete without him.

But he hides a secret.

After his nerve is broken in Germany, even the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat. But this doesn’t dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of womanising, wine and wild parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome. However, his scandalous life is interrupted by a summons from the emperor’s wife. It ends his happy decadent life and returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest ever trial. The events will resound through history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg …

I have researched the calamitous history of the doomed legions that marched into the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, using a wide range of historical sources including the classical works of Tacitus and the more recent archaeological findings of the early 1990s in Kalkriese. I have put my complicated hero, who clearly suffers from the post-traumatic stress of his last encounter with the German tribes, at the centre of the events that rocked Rome to its foundations. How can a man, so flawed in so many respects, possibly impact on these terrible events? By his humanity, by coming to terms with his flaws, and learning to stop hating himself for them. It is a tale of betrayal and hardship, but also personal redemption.

Roman Mask Available At

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE

TomAbout the Author

Thomas Brooke lives in London where he works in the exciting, and sometimes crazy, fashion world. He is also a committed writer and he spends as much time as he can in his beloved Northumbrian hills, where up until recently could be seen walking with his black Labrador Fergus, who sadly passed in January 2015. Fergus was a constant companion to the writing of the novel and prevented many writers’ tantrums.

Roman Mask is Thomas Brooke’s second novel, although this will be the first available for sale.

As well as writing novels, he also writes a blog on both historical and fantasy genre novels.

For more information on Thomas M D Brooke, visit and You can also find him on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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J.T. Gillett's Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant Book Blast

Orphans, Assassins, and the Existential Eggplant 

Publication Date: February 19, 2015 | Publisher: Homunculus Press
Formats: Kindle eBook, Paperback | ISBN-13: 978-0692391662 | Pages: 279

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant explores the quirky side of historical fiction. The novel takes you on wild ride through the early 13th century with a female alchemist, orphan teenager and a 600-year-old, shrunken eggplant that can speak to whomever wears it. In search of the fabled Lost Stone of Eden, they cross Europe and the Mediterranean with the Children’s Crusade, hijack a caravan in the Sahara desert, live with hashish-fueled Assassins in the mountains of Persia and rediscover paradise on the island of Bahrain.


Aaron and the girls slept for a few hours during the hottest part of the day, then rode through the evening and the entire night, taking only a few breaks to rest the camels. They didn’t catch up to any slow-moving caravans, come upon an oasis or see fires in the night. Everything around them seemed the same, day after day. Same mirrored sky. Same scorching sun. Same sound of camel farting and plodding. Same sad, ivory scent of emptiness.

“Are we dead?” asked Donatelle as they shared the last of the water. They were sitting atop a tall dune and could see nothing but more dunes in every direction.

“Do you feel dead?” Aaron had to ask, knowing that in the middle of this terminal landscape, it was a good question.

“I can’t tell because I don’t know what it’s like to be dead, but it might be like this. Just nothing,” Donatelle shrugged.

“Death is much different—and much luckier,” guessed the eggplant.

Aaron hoped the eggplant was right, but he chose a different answer for Donatelle. “Whenever I’m not sure, I listen for my heartbeat. The pounding inside me says I’m alive in this world and even though we’re in a dead place, we’ll survive. We’ll find something soon, or something will find us.”

Something took the form of a humming dark cloud on the horizon. They watched as it grew darker, stretched across the dunes and started to roar like steady, rolling thunder.

Praise for Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant

"Good stories rise and fall like empires in the endless pursuit of happiness, like armies of lovers marching to paradise - good stories change the world." So begins Part One of Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant. This book is such a good read. I read it on the plane to Hawaii, and it soared with me through the sky. My wife kept asking what was so funny as I giggled and laughed in my seat. This story changed me, in that flying is such a drag these days, and this book kept coming up with surprises, weaving together stories of gods, goddesses, orphans and assassins, the pursuit of the unattainable, and existential conundrums.

I have had the opportunity to read some of Mr Gillett's poetry (especially "This is My Last Poem" - I hope this is not his last novel), and in this novel, he brings his poetic ability to sublimely transport the reader to new views of the mundane, new opportunities for transformation, and new ways of understanding my own self. What more could I ask for in a book.

Steal this book if you need to, but get it and read it with joy." - Paul Rerucha, Amazon Reviewer

"I don't read a ton of books for pleasure but I did read this one on the recommendation of a friend. It kept me captivated and I ended up finishing it in 2.5 days. This is the kind of book that makes me want to read more often." - B. H., Amazon Reviewer

Orphans, Assassins and the Existential Eggplant Available at Amazon

Kindle eBook

About the Author

J.T Gillett holds degrees in philosophy and journalism from the University of Oregon and studied at Naropa Institute’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. His stories and poems have appeared in a variety of Literary Journals, including City Lights Journal, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

For more information please visit the Orphans and Assassins website and blog.

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Blog Tour & Spotlight: Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

Please join Monique Roy as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for Across Great Divides, from June 16-26.

01_Across Great Divides 

Publication Date: June 19, 2013 | Formats: Ebook, Paperback | 223 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Across Great Divides is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler came to power in 1933, one Jewish family refused to be destroyed and defied the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting apartheid in South Africa.

Sixteen-year-old Eva and her twin sister, Inge, witness their lives in Berlin change before their eyes. Their best friend, Trudy, betrays them when she becomes a member of the Hitler Youth. A valuable family heirloom, a beautiful emerald and diamond pendant necklace, is confiscated by the Nazis as they continue to harass Jewish families and businesses.

Their younger brother, Max, a member of the underground resistance, sees even greater danger ahead. Their father, Oskar, a diamond merchant with a thriving business, refuses to leave his beloved Germany and believes Hitler will eventually fail. Their mother, Helene, the elegant matriarch of the family, holds her family together.

The family is conflicted whether they should leave home. But after the devastation of Kristallnacht in 1938, they finally flee Germany with the help of the underground resistance after hiding many diamonds. They seek refuge in Antwerp, but war follows them as Belgium is occupied by the Germans.

A young German man, a nun, a countess conspiring against the Nazis, and a winegrower secretly hiding Jewish children, help them to escape Europe. They hike over the Pyrenees Mountains while eluding German patrols and Spanish informers. Then, they spend agonizing days on a ship bound for Rio de Janeiro that is targeted by a German U-boat. As Rio’s diamond business is corrupt, they decide to go to South Africa, another diamond market.

In Cape Town, Eva encounters an impoverished colored woman, Zoe, who is in need of work. The family hires Zoe as their maid and shields her and her daughter, Zola, from the dangers they face in the slums of District Six and from the horrors of apartheid, which are all too reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

But, when Max gets into trouble with the South African police over his participation in an anti-apartheid march, will he be subject to imprisonment?

In a thrilling conclusion, the family comes to terms with the evils of society, both in their memories and current situation in South Africa.

Praise for Across Great Divides

"Monique Roy writes an rousing story about a Jewish family leaving Germany during the start of WWII with the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) hot on their tails. The author must have paid attention at SMU because her prose is excellent." - Rick O

"The story in this novel is its best feature. It's a fascinating look at one family's survival of the Holocaust and their experiences on the other side of the fence in apartheid South Africa. It's that dichotomy that makes this story so intriguing." - Sarah Gruwell

"Across Great Divides" is a wonderful tale of resilience, family, and following your moral compass. Author Monique Roy, based this inspiring story on her own grandparents journey across countries, continents, and beliefs to try and find safety from the Nazis. - Madame Librarian

Official Book Trailer

Across Great Divides Available At


02_Monique RoyAbout the Author

Monique loves writing that twitches her smiling muscles or transports her to another time or place. Her passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It's their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her debut, historical fiction novel.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is also the author of a children's book Once Upon a Time in Venice. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, pursue her passion for writing, and read historical fiction. In 2008, she was chosen by the American Jewish Committee's ACCESS program to travel to Berlin, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to explore German and Israeli relations along with 20 other Jewish professionals from across the U.S.

Discover more at Monique Roy's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Across Great Divides Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, June 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 18
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, June 19
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, June 22
Review at Room With Books

Tuesday, June 23
Review at Book Babe

Wednesday, June 24
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, June 25
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, June 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

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Sophie Perinot's Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois Pre-Order Blitz

The wait is over. Sophie Perinot, author of The Sister Queens, has a new book available for pre-order! Medicis Daughter travels forward three-hundred years from Perinot’s last novel to the intrigue-riven French court of Charles IX, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife’s edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience. This is a coming-of-age story that will remind audiences that, when it comes to the 16th century, the Valois are even sexier than the Tudors—and just as treacherous.

02_Medici's Daughter_Cover 

Publication Date: December 1, 2015 | Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books | Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot's heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother's schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot's wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

Praise for Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois

“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family, as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” --Kate Quinn, Bestselling author of LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY

"The riveting story of a 16th century French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war. From the arms of the charismatic Duke of Guise to the blood-soaked streets of Paris, Princess Marguerite runs a dangerous gauntlet, taking the reader with her. An absolutely gripping read!" --Michelle Moran, bestselling author of THE REBEL QUEEN

"Rising above the chorus of historical drama is Perinot's epic tale of the fascinating, lascivious, ruthless House of Valois, as told through the eyes of the complicated and intelligent Princess Marguerite. Burdened by her unscrupulous family and desperate for meaningful relationships, Margot is forced to navigate her own path in sixteenth century France. Amid wars of nation and heart, Médicis Daughter brilliantly demonstrates how one unique woman beats staggering odds to find the strength and power that is her birthright." --Erika Robuck, bestselling author of HEMINGWAY'S GIRL

Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois Available for Pre-Order at

SP SmallAbout the Author

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.

An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times. Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on facebook at

Médicis Daughter Pre-Order Blitz Schedule

Monday, June 8
The True Book Addict
Peeking Between the Pages
So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, June 9
100 Pages a Day
Mina's Bookshelf
A Book Drunkard
The Reading Queen
The Never-Ending Book
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, June 10
Broken Teepee
Passages to the Past
Just One More Chapter
Historical Fiction Connection
Historical Readings & Reviews

Thursday, June 11
A Bookish Affair
Let Them Read Books
Caroline Wilson Writes
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, June 12
Unabridged Chick
Boom Baby Reviews
CelticLady's Reviews
Book Lovers Paradise
What Is That Book About

Hist Fic Giveaway: Win a copy of Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle! (US Only)

Hello lovely readers of mine! I received an extra ARC of Elizabeth Fremantle's new book, which was officially released today, and I would love to give it away to one of you amazing people!

Pub Date: June 9, 2015 | Simon & Schuster

From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction” (People), comes the mesmerizing story of Lady Penelope Devereux—the daring young beauty in the Tudor court, who inspired Sir Philip Sidney’s famous sonnets even while she plotted against Queen Elizabeth.

Penelope Devereux arrives at Queen Elizabeth’s court where she and her brother, the Earl of Essex, are drawn into the aging Queen’s favor. Young and naïve, Penelope, though promised elsewhere, falls in love with Philip Sidney who pours his heartbreak into the now classic sonnet series Astrophil and Stella. But Penelope is soon married off to a man who loathes her. Never fainthearted, she chooses her moment and strikes a deal with her husband: after she gives birth to two sons, she will be free to live as she chooses, with whom she chooses. But she is to discover that the course of true love is never smooth.

Meanwhile Robert Cecil, ever loyal to Elizabeth, has his eye on Penelope and her brother. Although it seems the Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen, as his influence grows, so his enemies gather. Penelope must draw on all her political savvy to save her brother from his own ballooning ambition and Cecil’s trap, while daring to plan for an event it is treason even to think about.

Unfolding over the course of two decades and told from the perspectives of Penelope and her greatest enemy, the devious politician Cecil, Watch the Lady chronicles the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty.


To enter to win a paperback ARC of Watch the Lady, please leave a comment below with your email address.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Isaac and Ishmael Blog Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway

Today kicks off the Isaac and Ishmael Blog Tour and I have the chance for one of you to win this new book by Mary F. Burns!

02_Isaac and Ishmael_Cover

Publication Date: November 15, 2014 | Sand Hill Press | Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction/Biblical

Isaac and Ishmael attempts to bring to human scale the legends and mythic dimensions of Abraham and Sarah, their sons Isaac and Ishmael, and Isaac and Rebecca’s twin sons Esau and Jacob. Readers will experience the struggles, competition, betrayals and loves of these brothers, fathers and sons caught up in the overarching tension between time and eternity, a place where a new God is coming into being—Yahweh, the uncanny, irascible, mischievous, bargaining God who participated in the life of a new people and compelled them to a new way of being human.

The stormy relationship of Isaac and Ishmael has long passed into a tradition which looks to Isaac as the father of the Jewish people, and Ishmael as the father of the Arab people, particularly in Egypt. Similarly, while Jacob carries on his father’s heritage, becoming the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, his twin brother Esau, the red-haired archer who sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup, is traditionally said to have departed for the North, and populated what would later become Rome. Isaac and Ishmael explores the thorny, complex yet delicate relations between these brothers and fathers, providing a more human understanding of the differences that arise between individuals and peoples, even now as the ancient tensions in the Middle East continue to flare up in modern confrontations and war. Ever present in the story are the strong, subtle and often ambitious women of Biblical legend: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.

Official Book Trailer

Isaac & Ishmael Available at

Barnes & Noble

03_Mary F. BurnsAbout the Author

Mary F. Burns is the author of ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, published by Sand Hill Review Press in November 2014. Other historical fiction includes THE SPOILS OF AVALON and PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST (Sand Hill Review Press, February 2014, 2013), both books featuring the celebrated portrait painter, John Singer Sargent and his best friend, writer Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee). Mary is a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of directors. Her debut historical novel J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE was published in July 2010 by O-Books (John Hunt Publishers, UK). She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders). She will be part of two panels at the upcoming North American Historical Novel Society Conference in June in Denver, one on The Historical Mystery and the other on Art and Artists in Historical Fiction.

Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 where she now lives with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood.

Ms. Burns may be contacted by email at For more information please visit Mary Burns’s website at You can also connect with Mary on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, or read her blog posts at:

Isaac and Ishmael Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 8
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 9
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, June 10
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 11
Review at A Book Drunkard

Friday, June 12
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Monday, June 15
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 16
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, June 17
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, June 18
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Friday, June 19
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, June 21
Review & Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, June 22
Excerpt at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 23
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Thursday, June 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, June 26
Review & Giveaway at Genre Queen


To enter to win a paperback or eBook of Isaac and Ishmael (winner's choice), please leave a comment below with your email address.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Print giveaway is open to US residents only, eBook is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: The Outer Banks House & Return to the Outer Banks House by Diann Duchard

Today on Passages to the Past I am hosting Diann Ducharme's blog tour for her nvoels The Outer Banks House & Return to the Outer Banks House! Please enjoy the guest post and don't forget to enter to win a copy of either book!

Guest Post by Diann Duchard

Goodbyes are hard, and in fiction, endings are difficult to write. After spending over three years with my characters, especially mismatched lovers Abby and Ben, it was sort of like they had become actual people, even friends. (Writers don’t get out much.) I worked myself into a funk writing their final chapter. The Outer Banks House was published in the summer of 2010, but thereafter, I thought about them fondly, as if we’d once been the greatest of next-door neighbors. I wondered what had become of them; my Google search didn’t turn up very much, and I couldn’t find them on Facebook. I began to mull over possibilities. I considered their circumstances—living together on the isolated 1870s Outer Banks, perhaps shunned by their former friends and family, getting by on Ben’s fishing trade and Abby’s teaching in the former Freedmen’s Colony—and the story took on another life. It was a joy to find them, to have them as neighbors for another three years. But again, I was forced to write their final chapter. And it was even more difficult the second time around, because I’d grown as a writer and as a person. I knew that as much as they loved each other, life can be cruel to dreamers; final chapters end beautiful stories with devastating truth. But are they truly final? In life, sometimes they are. But fiction, thankfully, goes by different rules. Abby and Ben’s stories are once again weaving their way through the wool of my mind. They are still growing too, it seems, and their stories are branching and leafing with them. I am hoping the house next-door sells quickly so that they can move back in, and we can once again share our lives.

About The Outer Banks House

02_The Outer Banks House_Cover 

Publication Date: June 8, 2010 | Crown Publishing | Formats: Ebook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.

In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.

But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities.

Download the Lost Chapter of The Outer Banks House.

Praise for The Outer Banks House

“...There's real darkness on the edge of this romance that hurls the lovers toward tragedy, as if the price to re-enter the innocence of Eden might afford Abby nothing but despair. This 2010 debut novel and portrayal of the historical Outer Banks offers a terrific option for beach reading; it's the sort of novel that can be charming without requiring an abundance of character complexity and depth. Abby's evolution ultimately parallels the positive aspects of how the South reconciled to change after the Civil War, a change that required a culture of ignorance to wash out to sea.”
— Style Weekly Review

“It’s 1868, and the natives of North Carolina’s Outer Banks think the Sinclairs’ summer residence on the beach at Nags Head is right peculiar. Seventeen-year-old Abigail Sinclair is enlisted by her parents to teach Ben Whimble, her father’s fishing guide, to read. Abby is being courted by medical student Hector Newman and is appalled at the dirty and perpetually barefoot Ben. But Abby is also restless and slowly sees in Ben more than just a willing pupil. Ben might be getting sweet on his teacher as well, but her father has involved him in a matter that doesn’t sit right with the Banker, knowing that freedmen and runaway slaves have long lived contentedly out on Roanoke Island. It’s just three years since the end of the war, and for some, that isn’t long enough. VERDICT First novelist Ducharme has laced her novel with the sounds and the smells of the North Carolina shoreline. Racism and Southern tradition run along parallel paths in this affecting debut, where gentlemen can be less than honorable and enslavement doesn’t always involve chains. Highly recommended for fans of Southern fiction.” - Bette-Lee Fox — Library Journal, Starred Review

“A heart-felt and engrossing novel about the coming of age of two very different young people in the South just after the Civil War: a curious upper-class girl from an almost bankrupt plantation and a handsome young barefoot fisherman “made of sand and seawater” who comes to her to learn to read. What they learn from each other about tolerance and caring in those turbulent times will change their lives forever. A beautiful sense of this place by the sea, of a country in conflict, of death and redemption, and of new love.” - Stephanie Cowell, Author of CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF CLAUDE MONET and MARRYING MOZART

“The Outer Banks House is a beautifully written and deeply moving story of a sheltered young woman's awakening to life, love and the injustice of discrimination against former slaves. In theme and impact, shades of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn; in the evocative setting and fresh voice, a unique novel all its own.” - Karen Harper — Author of THE QUEEN'S GOVERNESS

The Outer Banks House Available at

Barnes & Noble
Crown Publishing

About Return to the Outer Banks House

03_Return to the Outer Banks House_Cover 

Publication Date: December 10, 2014 | Kill Devil Publishing | Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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She was the spirited daughter of a North Carolina plantation owner, and he was a poor fisherman who she tutored on the porch of her family’s Nags Head cottage. When we last saw Abigail Sinclair and Ben Whimble at the close of The Outer Banks House, they’d overcome their differences in life stations and defied convention to begin their new life together.

But now it’s seven years later, and Return to the Outer Banks House finds the couple married and in hard times—riddled by poverty, miscarriages, and weakened family ties. The strong bonds that once held them together have eroded over time, and their marriage threatens to unravel, particularly when relationships from the past and ambitions for the future find their way into the mismatched couple’s present predicament.

Can their love survive? Or are the challenges they face insurmountable? Return to the Outer Banks House carries readers back to 1875 to answer these questions and explore the ebb and flow of a rocky marriage set against the enchanting North Carolina shoreline. Replete with history, intrigue, and plenty of maritime drama, it’s an evocative tale of struggle in the Reconstruction-era South.

Praise for Return to the Outer Banks House

“...Set between 1875 and ’76, Ducharme’s story—this being the sequel to The Outer Banks House (2010)—is about love and its many faces, from young and reckless to unrequited. Specifically, she explores the unlikely passion that forms between smart, affluent Abigail Sinclair and uneducated, penniless Benjamin Whimble. The people of this tightknit island community on the Outer Banks, off the coast of North Carolina, are connected by their collective poverty and abiding love for the sea. Outsiders are generally unwelcome...” - Kirkus Reviews

Return to the Outer Banks House Available at

Barnes & Noble

04_Diann Ducharme_AuthorAbout the Author

Diann was born in Indiana in 1971, but she spent the majority of her childhood in Newport News, Virginia. She majored in English literature at the University of Virginia, but she never wrote creatively until, after the birth of her second child in 2003, she sat down to write The Outer Banks House. She soon followed up with her second book, Chasing Eternity, and in 2015 the sequel to her first novel, Return to the Outer Banks House.

Diann has vacationed on the Outer Banks since the age of three. She even married her husband of 10 years, Sean Ducharme, in Duck, North Carolina, immediately after a stubborn Hurricane Bonnie churned through the Outer Banks. Conveniently, the family beach house in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina provided shelter while she conducted research for her historical fiction novels.

She has three beach-loving children and a border collie named Toby, who enjoys his sprints along the shore. The family lives in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, counting down the months until summer.

For more information visit Diann Ducharme's website. You can also follow Diann on her blog, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Outer Banks Series Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Tuesday, May 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, May 27
Review (Book One) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 28
Review (Book One) at In a Minute

Friday, May 29
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, May 30
Spotlight at Becky on Books

Sunday, May 31
Review (Book One) at Book Nerd

Monday, June 1
Review (Book Two) at Let them Read Books
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, June 2
Review (Book One) at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 3
Review (Book Two) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, June 4
Spotlight & Giveaway (Book One) at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, June 5
Review (Both Books) at Bibliotica

Sunday, June 7
Review (Book One) at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, June 8
Review (Book One) at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at Curling Up With A Good Book

Tuesday, June 9
Review & Giveaway (Book One) at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, June 10
Review (Both Books) at Unshelfish
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, June 11
Review (Book Two) at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, June 12
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, June 14
Review (Book Two) at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, June 15
Review & Giveaway (Both Books) at Genre Queen

Tuesday, June 16
Interview at Books and Benches
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 17
Review (Both Books) at Luxury Reading

Thursday, June 18
Review (Book One) at Books and Benches
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 19
Review (Book One) at Build a Bookshelf
Review (Book Two) at Ageless Pages Reviews


To enter to win a paperback copy of either The Outer Banks House or Return to the Outer Banks House (winner's choice), please leave a comment below with your email address.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

05_Outer Banks Series_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: June Reviews

Welcome to the June link page for the 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of June 2015.

Visit the link pages for past months:

January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015

If you haven't already signed up for the challenge, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

HF Reading Challenge Instructions...

  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review). A direct link to your Goodreads review is also acceptable
  • Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, etc.)
  • Don't forget to look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books!

Please leave your links for your April reviews in Mr. Linky below or if you don't have a blog, in the comments below.

If you have any questions or need assistance please email Amy at

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